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More Things I Learned

THAILAND | Wednesday, 30 December 2009 | Views [628]

Trains: Can amazingly run on time. If you're lucky. Even better if you're training past the other broken down one that left an hour before you. Sense of karma in that one after our day-long train trip.

Western Food: You'll give in eventually. Comparatively expensive, but still cheap enough to be able to achieve your fix.

Toilets: You come to appreciate a good one. And then the good ones normally charge you a fee to get in. They're similar to Japan in that they're filled with water before you use it, only you're not supposed to flush any toilet paper or like matter down the toilet. Everything is supposed to go in a little bin next to the toilet (or use the high pressure hose!), though I must say, I've forgotten a couple of times. If you're not lucky enough to get a good one, then you'll need to become well practiced at squatting and always carrying your own wipes. If you've not gotten a western toilet, then you also have to use the bucket of water next to the toilet to flush it manually. Never in my life have I appreciated good toilets so much. Sigh. NB. The one on the train is even better. You're not allowed to use it when the train is stopped at a station, because everything you do falls straight down onto the tracks.

Water: This time, it's not about actually drinking it. It's more something I learned while trekking. Water is heavy. Carrying two litres of water for a full day trek is an additional 2kg you're lugging up a jungle mountain. Solution? Drink more. Result? Having to become adept at squatting in the jungle while your fiancee waits nearby to make sure you don't get eaten by anything. Real relationship builder that one. Actually easier than first anticipated!

Orange Juice: The best emergency sugar hit you'll ever find. Though the concept of orange here is a little bit off. They're more like small mandarines. Taste the same, peel the same, but are in Thailand in copious quantities, and are known as oranges. The juice tastes great and you get to see them juicing them right in front of you!

Taxis: Actually very good value! They're charged by distance instead of time + distance, so no matter how bad the traffic is, the price is the same. Normally cost less than $4.00 to get across the city as we discovered today getting to the major shopping centre in Bangkok. It's also an excellent opportunity to travel in air conditioned style and escape the fumes of the city, and the tuk tuks!

Fumes: They're getting to me today. Really struggling. Old tuk tuks and in particular the crappy old taxis in Chiang Mai. Where does their emissions trading scheme come in?!?!?

Tourists: Often loud, boisterous and ignorant. I enjoy getting away from them. Then I remember that I am one. Fail.

McDonalds: Is crap. 'nuff said.

Movies: Previews before the movie - epic (a good 20 minutes). THEN everyone stands to pay reverence to the King while the National Anthem plays. A different experience indeed. Makes for a long movie session! That said, Sherlock Holmes was pretty good. Love me a bit of Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law eye candy action.

The Monarchy: In line with the previous, the Monarchy is held in very high regard. There are giant billboards and images everywhere of the King, and some of the Queen. Many are when he was much younger and healthier, obviously trying to demonstrate continued strength and health. At 83, I'd be wanting younger photos of me everywhere too!

Water rules: Same with the roads. There are none. Helps to be on a boat.

Temples: Many, many temples. Many, many temples. <-- longboat driver on repeat.

Stationery: Still far more superior than that available in the Western world. I'm loving it sick. Why is it always so hard to get good quality, fine nib pens back home when they're everywhere here!!??! Erin, I've grabbed a stash for you too. Hope you like Miffy and fruity flavours!

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